This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Killer-Drone Exclusive Club

"Efforts to control the spread of drones will be relatively meaningless in the face of China's relative promiscuity when it comes to selling drones."
"China's drones seem especially attractive to countries that have ... been rebuffed by the U.S."
Sarah Kreps, Cornell University professor, studies in weapons proliferation

"It is a good illustration of how this technology has gone global. What was recently considered abnormal is the new normal of technology and war."
Peter W. Singer, fellow, New America Foundation
The documents originate from US intelligence sources and are classified as "top...
The documents originate from US intelligence sources and are classified as "top secret". This diagram shows how the US government structures the deployment of drones. The drones are controlled from the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, but those communications are routed using an undersea cable to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where they are then transmitted via satellite directly to the combat drone

Republican President George W. Bush began the use of militarily lethal drones to target the Taliban in Afghanistan. Those precision targetings, directed by a technician back in the United States, could identify through video linkage where their targets were located at any given time, then release the drones to do their jobs. It was all removed, bloodless, no American servicemen's lives hung in the balance, simply identify the target and set the controls to hit with its deadly impact.

Photo Gallery: Ramstein's Role in the US Drone War
DPA -- A US Air Force MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle and a deadly precision weapon used in President Barack Obama's drone war to eliminate al-Qaida terrorists

What could possibly be more reflective of a new era of conflict, where remote-controlled drones could be directed to their mission to eliminate the enemies of peace and reconciliation? That's the theory, in any event. Reality seems somewhat different. The then-president of Afghanistan, the irascible Hamid Karzai used to rage with impotence over those strikes. Because, the truth was not quite reflect of the theory, as this statement from The Intercept testified:
Documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.
From the Bush administration to the Democratic administration of conflict-aversion President Barack Obama, drones have become the weapon of choice when confronted by the presence of Islamist leaders directing their militias to impact the stability of the Western democratic world. Mr. Obama authorized the drone strike that killed the infamous Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki whose sermons galvanized generations of jihadis. Of course there are drones used specifically and solely for surveillance, and 78 countries make use of them for that purpose.

Of that number, over 20 have or are in the development stages of arming drones, according to the New America Foundation in Washington, tracking the industry. Russia and Iran have designed and built to their own specifications missile-firing drone fleets. It was considered a coup when years ago, the United States, then the only possessor of such drones, lost at least one which was then closely scrutinized for its technology, enabling others to emulate them in the production of their own.

Britain and the United States fly American-made armed MQ-1 Predators or MQ-9 Reapers. Israel builds its own drones, and makes them available to India and Jordan. Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq now procure their drones from China, through China's growing exports of the unmanned aircraft systems. Military analysts view China's drone industry to be effectively undermining American efforts to maintain some level of control over the technology.

According to classified documents seen by SPIEGEL and The Intercept, Ramstein...

China is proficient in using the advanced technologies of others to produce their own version of less expensive, but viable products of all descriptions, and drones are a hot product of a conflict's armaments moving those who use them into a new era of lethal attack from a comfortable distance, that poorer countries aspire to acquire for themselves. China -- it has been pointed out by Ian Easton, research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia who tracks security issues in Asia -- is "engaged in an ambitious effort" to sell its products in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Precisely those geographies where conflict rages unabated, and where this new high-tech delivery of death seems most attractive, the latest must-have item in advanced weaponry. Syria's civil war sees all its major forces in possession of drones. The Syrian military, Russia, Iran and Daesh all fly unmanned  model-plane-sized drones to reconnoitre targets. Next on the agenda for them will be the operation of giant Reaper surveillance and killer drones.

Pakistani military spokesman General Asim Bajwa made his announcement on Twitter of the army having launched its first drone strike, killing three "high-profile terrorists" in North Waziristan's tribal mountain area in the country's northwest. A Pakistani-made Burraq aircraft featured in that attack. A deadly drone named after the Prophet Muhammad's winged horse that legend claims flew him from Jerusalem's Temple Mount directly to Paradise.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet